For years, car owners have driven to dealerships to have their fatally flawed Takata airbag inflators replaced. But despite the headlines, news stories, and repeated announcements about the biggest recall in automotive history, some people haven't listened.
Honda, for one, has had just about enough of it. And it's sending people door-to-door to get cars fixed.
The company is focusing its newest outreach efforts on older Honda and Acura vehicles equipped with Takata's poorly designed "Alpha" inflators, which can have a 50/50 chance of malfunctioning when deployed. That's because there's a strong probability that the ammonium nitrate Takata used in those inflators has destabilized. If it has, it can explode during deployment, sending hot shrapnel through a vehicle and killing or injuring the very people that the airbag is meant to protect.
To date, Takata's airbag inflators have been linked to 18 deaths and more than 200 injuries worldwide. Many of those incidents occurred in Hondas equipped with Alpha inflators. The list of vehicles equipped with those inflators includes:
- 2001-2002 Honda Accord
- 2001-2002 Honda Civic
- 2002 Honda CR-V
- 2002 Honda Odyssey
- 2003 Honda Pilot
- 2003 Acura CL
- 2002-2003 Acura TL
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sent an urgent message to owners of those vehicles last summer. It said, in essence, "Don't drive your car anywhere other than to a dealership for service." Honda has offered to tow vehicles to dealerships if owners are too afraid to drive them, and in July, it renewed those pleas.
The good news is that many owners have heeded the warnings: roughly 88 percent of the more than 1 million vehicles with Alpha inflators have either been fixed or taken off the road.
The bad news is that there are still about 130,000 Honda and Acura vehicles in America that are in desperate need of repair. Now, the automaker is assembling a grassroots team of 500 workers, who'll go door-to-door to reach owners of those vehicles and get the cars into service bays.
If you own one of these vehicles, take a moment to visit the Honda or Acura recall website and run a quick search using your vehicle identification number. If your car is affected by the recall and hasn't been fixed yet, please contact your local Honda or Acura dealer immediately and make arrangements for a free service appointment.